Saint Mommy

Saint Mommy by Kate Taliaferro. Daily Graces
St John the Divine Rose Window by 2a by Tony Hisgett (2010) via Flickr, CC. Modified by Kate Taliaferro

My husband has a complicated last name. When you look at the spelling, you would think it is fairly obviously pronounced just as you would sound it out. Whenever someone does this, I usually smile and say “Sure, that’s how it goes.” It’s much easier to move on than to stop our conversation and say “Well actually, it’s pronounced absolutely nothing like it is spelled, sorry for messing up every English lesson you had growing up for a moment.” Because of this, we made the decision early on that we would give our children first names that were classic and simple to pronounce. They are going to always struggle with the last name, at least their first people will be able to get on the first try. We also have intentionally named them after saints so that no matter what, they would have a solid role model attached to them in their name.

John (age 4) is becoming more aware of the saints as holy men and women who are now in heaven with God. Not only are they with God, they can help us by praying for us and reminding us to have good behavior and morals. We have already encouraged our children to pray to their name-saint, asking for help in whatever area of the day they struggled with .

When Ben left for his last deployment, John was pretty upset Ben’s last night home. We decided while praying together that we should choose a family saint – a saint that could watch over our family while Daddy was gone and we all could pray to during our nightly prayers, no matter where in the world we are. John liked that and of course, asked if our family saint could be St. John. The next day, he figured we should add St. Rose and St. Clare too for Rosie and Clare.

This evening at dinner, Rosie (age 3) was trying to figure out the whole saint thing since we’ve been talking about it so much. “Mommy, St. John helps John make good choices and helps take care of him right?” “Yes Rosie, St. John can do that.”

“And St. Rose can help me?”


“And St. Clare can help Clare? Well, Clare is a baby, but St. Clare can help her someday?”

“Yes Rosie, St. Clare can help Clare.”

“And Mommy, St. Mommy will help you too! And St. Daddy will help him too! And St. Uncle Steve will help Uncle Steve!”

Oh my sweet Rosie. What a beautiful thing she came up with. While we might be a little confused about the whole name = saint thing, she is laying a beautiful foundation of understanding for the communion of saints.

Even if your given name isn’t a canonized saint, you can still adopt one (or many) as your own patrons. Patron saints are saints that you feel close to, that inspire you or challenge you. Though my name is Kathryn and there are a number of St. Catherine saints, presently I feel closest to St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Frances of Rome, and a Carmelite monk from the 1600s, Br. Lawrence.

When you ask a friend to pray for you, the saints operate in the same manner. They are dear friends who happen to be situated that much closer to God – we believe they are in heaven after all.


I hope everyone enjoyed the Advent Reflections. In case you missed any, you can always check them out under the “Advent Reflections 2015” tab or the Archive. I enjoyed writing them. I hope they inspired you to have a peaceful and thoughtful Advent.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a more traditional post. Recently, I’ve started subscribing to a styling service. It seems rather silly, to have a complete stranger “style” you – I’ve never been “styled” before and am still uncomfortable with the term. Don’t know why, just am. Anyway, in one of the shipments I received a new purse. I didn’t need a new purse, but it was such a good color and I was drawn to it. It was something I

The new purse

would have seen in a store, went, wow, what a great purse, but never would have actually picked it for myself. (One of the reasons I’m doing this is to push myself outside of just jeans and simple t-shirts. Nothing crazy, just a bit more put together).

I’m so glad I made that decision. My current purse has become the diaper bag plus purse. There are goldfish and crumbs in every corner, it is full of clothes and diapers, toys and books, my wallet is in there somewhere and I can never find my sunglasses except, ironically, on cloudy days. When we load up with waters and snacks, I’m pretty sure it weighs as much as my 15 month old daughter. It’s just a lot.

I’m fine with that. It’s my choice not to keep my purse and diaper bag in two separate spaces. It’s easier to load up one bag rather than two. But, when I’m on my own (which isn’t often but does happen), it’s a rather ridiculous scene. I have two choices – unload all the diaper bag items, since I won’t need them when I’m at the commissary by myself or on a date with my husband. Or, I can carry them unnecessarily with me, being weighed down by my diaper bag child instead of my actual children.

Enter the new purse. I never thought of option three until it arrived and I needed to come up with a reasonable excuse to be OK the expense. Right now it is sitting empty on its hook. That’s right, completely empty, there isn’t a single thing in it. It is waiting for my next solo trip out of the house, even if it’s just to choir practice. When Sunday rolls around, I will get this beautifully empty purse down and put in it my wallet, some chapstick, and car keys. That’s it. Well, if it’s sunny then sunglasses too but the likelihood of that is slim, even in California right now.

Separate spaces. It’s a novel idea, at least for me. I’m not trying to divide my roles in life, mother – wife – woman. But it is nice to have some breathing room between them sometimes. Yes, I am always a mother even if my children aren’t present around me. But I don’t need to carry all of my “mother” stuff to every place I go. Sometimes it’s nice to focus more on the wife/woman side of things, like when I’m on a date with my husband. Now, when we go out, I can get my wallet out without asking him to hold a can of puffs or a couple board books.

I think that this separation is important, especially in marriages. Ben has deployed now a number of times and when he is gone we skype as often as we can. We have learned the hard way that if we only talk to each other when the kids are around, our marriage suffers. We aren’t able to communicate in a deep enough way when we are being interrupted by stories of the day’s activities, imaginings and sweet but distracting musings of a 3 and 4 year old. We need time to ourselves. It is a healthy thing and one that marriage counselors and experts all agree on (as far as I am aware).

I’m grateful for this purse. It’s helping me identify my desire for and the importance of me-time, marriage-time and family-time. I had no idea when I embarked on a “styling” adventure I’d find this wealth of grace at the bottom of a purse.